ARC Review: The Great Hunt

The Great Hunt
The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: March 8, 2016

Kill the beast. Win the girl.

When a monstrous beast attacks in Eurona, desperate measures must be taken. The king sends a proclamation to the best and bravest hunters: whoever kills the creature will win the hand of his daughter Princess Aerity as a reward. Princess Aerity recognizes her duty but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger—she was meant to marry for love—until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. And while there’s no denying the fiery chemistry between them, Princess Aerity feels that Paxton’s mysteriousness is foreboding, maybe even dangerous.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He is determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the secrets he’s buried begin to surface against his wishes.

I had never heard of the Singing Bone before this book, and actually looked it up. It’s a typical Grimm story with murder and punishment, so I won’t bore you with that one. The Great Hunt adapts some key points from the Singing Bone, but it is at it’s heart, a romance story, with adventure. Eurona is split into five lands, and Aerity is the princess of Lochlans, a coastal kingdom with lush forests where a beast has been stalking and killing people recently. Death toll rises and the king puts up his daughter as prize, in desperation. Aerity grew up thinking she would have the choice of a husband, but when it comes to save her kingdom, she is ready to give that up. But when she lays eyes upon Paxton, the dark brooding and abrasive hunter, she wishes it is him who wins the hunt. Most of the story devotes equal time to the actual hunt and to their romance. He is determined to be away from her, because she is a royal, and she can’t help but be drawn by that fact, among others.

The writing is lush with details, and mostly focuses on the romance. Their chemistry is of glances and blushes and all, but she is quite prepared to pursue him. The story, however, also devotes time to secondary characters, especially her cousin Wyneth, whose fiance was one of the people killed and is now torn between mourning and her attraction to one of the foreign lords in the hunt. Then there is also the underlying witch hunt like arc – there are magical adepts called the Lashed Ones, who are distinct from the general populace by the appearance of a purple line of their nails whenever they use magic. It plays greatly into the plot and drives it, as it revealed towards the end. And since this book is supposed to be duology, I am so interested in what happens next. This was a good and much more interesting retelling, especially of such a mundane tale.

Received a free galley from HarperTeen, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

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